UK Scientists Start Stem Cell Trial of Potential Blindness Cure

UK Scientists Start Stem Cell Trial of Potential Blindness Cure

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LONDON (Reuters) – The first patient has been treated in Britain in a pioneering trial of a new treatment co-developed by Pfizer and derived from embryonic stem cells designed for patients with a condition that can cause blindness.

Specialists at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital said the operation, described as “successful”, was the first of 10 planned for participants in a trial of the treatment for a disease called ‘wet’ age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The trial will test the safety and efficacy of transplanting eye cells known as retinal pigment epithelium, which have been derived from embryonic stem cells.

Stem cells are the body’s master cells, the source of all other cells. Scientists who support the use of embryonic stem cells say they could transform medicine, providing treatments for blindness, juvenile diabetes or severe injuries. But critics object to them because they are harvested from human embryos.

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